Squeeze filters have quickly become one of the most popular filtration methods among hikers and ultralight backpackers. It isn’t any wonder why; they’re small, lightweight, and super convenient for quick water grabs on trips with plentiful water sources along the way.
The Platypus QuickDraw MicroFilter System is similar to other popular squeeze filters on the market but stands out for its fast flow rate, durable build, and easy maintenance.
WEIGHT: 3.6 oz. (including 1 L reservoir)
ULTRALIGHT – The QuickDraw system is incredibly lightweight compared to traditional pumps and filters. The dry microfilter weighs a mere 2.3 oz. (or 3.6 including the 1 L reservoir), so it’s perfect for anyone looking to minimize pack weight. That’s a tad lighter than the Sawyer Squeeze (2.5 oz. without reservoir) and a bit heavier than the Katadyn BeFree (1.2 oz. without reservoir), but the difference is pretty negligible.
On our scale, the saturated QuickDraw cartridge with both caps weighed 3.1 ounces. If you keep your filter attached to the squeeze reservoir like we do on the trail, you may choose not to carry the additional caps, which will shave off about 0.4 oz. from the total weight.
COMPACT – The QuickDraw filter cartridge fits easily in a hip belt pocket or fanny pack, and the reservoir folds completely flat when not in use. We love how small and space-saving this system is. In fact, it’s so minimal, we often bring it in a pocket on trail runs so we don’t have to carry a water bottle.
FAST & CONVENIENT – There’s no wait time when using the QuickDraw like there is with chemical or UV treatments. Simply scoop water from a natural source, squeeze it through the filter into a bottle, and it’s immediately safe to drink. We can easily filter multiple liters in a minute or two, which helps keep breaks short. Sometimes, we don’t even bother stopping. If you keep the QuickDraw accessible, and there are frequent water sources along the route, it’s easy to grab a liter on the fly. We often filter while walking or simply drink straight from the cartridge.
EXCELLENT FLOW RATE – Hundreds of tiny, hollow fibers allow the QuickDraw to filter water rapidly. Platypus claims that it can filter up to 3 L per minute with normal squeeze pressure. We don’t often backpack with a 3 L reservoir, so we haven’t tested that theory, but 3 L per minute seems like a stretch to us. That said, we’re more than happy with the QuickDraws ability to process 1 L of water in less than a minute (about 40 seconds).
In a water filter race we recently conducted (see video below), we found the flow rates of popular squeeze filters to be pretty similar. That said, the QuickDraw proved to be slightly faster than the Katadyn BeFree and LifeStraw Peak Squeeze in multiple trials. We have yet to speed trial the QuickDraw against a fresh Sawyer Squeeze, but we expect the two to perform similarly.
REMOVES BACTERIA, PROTOZOA & DIRT – Drinking bad water can quickly ruin a trip and wreak havoc on your body for weeks or months following. Needless to say, it’s best to filter all water in the backcountry to avoid the possibility of contracting a gnarly stomach parasite. The QuickDraws hollow-fiber filter cartridge removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa. It’s effective against giardia, salmonella, and cryptosporidium – the most common things you’ll encounter on the trails in North America. It also does a great job of clarifying water by removing small debris particles.
QUALITY RESERVOIR – We’ve been using Platy Bottles on backpacking trips for ages, and we trust them to be durable and taste-free. We’ve had good experiences using the 1 L QuickDraw reservoir that’s included with the filter, and far prefer it over the bags that come with the Sawyer Squeeze. The QuickDraw reservoir has a wide mouth that makes it easy to fill at water sources. And it has a great little handle that makes it easy to carry in your hand if you’re drinking right out of the bottle on the go. It’s also nice to be able to scoop water from a cold source without having to submerge our hands on chilly trips.
EXTERNAL FILTER CARTRIDGE – We like that the QuickDraws microfilter attaches to the outside of bottles and reservoirs. Some filter designs, like the Katadyn BeFree and LifeStraw Peak Squeeze, nest the cartridge inside the reservoir, which makes it a) difficult to squeeze every last drop, and b) impossible to fit in a whole liter of water. It’s helpful to be able to store a full liter in the ‘dirty’ reservoir and know that you’re filtering exactly 1 L of water into an empty water bottle of your choice.
COMPATIBLE WITH VARIOUS BOTTLES & RESERVOIRS – The QuickDraw filter cartridge has dual inside and outside threads, so it can be attached to a variety of bottles and reservoirs. We almost always use the 1 L reservoir that comes with the filter, but we appreciate that it’s compatible with smartwater bottles and a variety of other beverage containers. Versatility is always good, and if the reservoir had a blowout, we’d have a backup.
DURABLE HOUSING – One of the biggest upsides of QuickDraw is how durable it is. The flip-open sports cap is much stouter than those on the BeFree and Sawyer, and won’t threaten to break off after repeated opening and closing. The whole filter cartridge feels solid in your hand. And even the caps are made with a thick material. The QuickDraw is probably the most durable squeeze filter on the market, so it’s great for thru-hiking or anyone who’s tough on gear.
EASY TO BACKFLUSH – All water filters slow down over time as they’re exposed to particulates in water, and backflushing can help restore their flow rate. Some filters require a syringe to force water back through them, but you can flush the QuickDraw with nothing more than a clean water bottle. A vigorous shake will also work well to maintain the flow rate in the field in our experience. But, if the QuickDraw needs a more thorough flushing, you can simply invert a bottle full of clean water over the drink spout and squeeze water back through the cartridge.
INTEGRITY CHECK – If a squeeze filter is dropped or frozen, the hollow fibers in the cartridge can be compromised. There’s no way to tell for sure if this has occurred on many squeeze filters, so you’d have to discard them if you were worried. Thankfully, there is a way to check the integrity of the QuickDraw. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to determine whether your filter is safe to use.
GOOD VALUE – The QuickDraw has an MSRP of $50, which is slightly more than the comparable Sawyer Squeeze (currently $41). That said, it’s still an excellent value, and we don’t mind paying a few dollars more to get the high-quality reservoir that comes with it. For reference, the Katadyn BeFree also costs $50.
Platypus claims you should be able to filter 1,000 L of water with a QuickDraw cartridge, which pencils out to about $0.05 per liter. Compare that to the cost per liter of treating with chlorine dioxide drops and pills; Katadyn Micropur Water Tabs cost about $0.50 per liter, and Aquamira Drops roughly $0.13 per 1 L.
In the grand scheme, this system is quite affordable, especially compared to a heavy-duty purifier, like the MSR Guardian. If you’re willing to properly maintain the QuickDraw to get many trips out of it, the price is well worth it.
HEAVIER & BULKIER THAN SOME – As mentioned above, the QuickDraw (2.3 oz. without reservoir) is a bit heavier than the Katadyn BeFree (1.2 oz. without reservoir). The weight difference is fairly miniscule though, and the QuickDraw’s streamlined and durable housing may be worth the slight increase in weight for some. The Sawyer Squeeze is slightly heavier than the QuickDraw (2.5 oz. without reservoir).
The QuickDraw is, however, significantly heavier and bulkier than a chemical treatment like Katadyn Micropur Water Tabs (1.2 oz. for 30 tabs). If you’re looking for the most ultralight and minimal option, a treatment like this might be a better fit for you.
SLOWS DOWN OVER TIME – The QuickDraw is really fast when it’s new, with the ability to filter 1-2 L per minute. Unfortunately, as is the case with all squeeze filters, the hollow fibers that make up the membrane can get clogged and the flow rate will eventually slow down over time. We recommend choosing water sources carefully and, if you have to, pre-filtering water that’s super silty or full of debris to increase the lifespan of your filter and maintain a good flow rate.
If you know the area where you’re hiking has silty or highly-contaminated water sources, the QuickDraw (or any squeeze filter) might not be the best choice. Those types of conditions will slow your filter down and treating water could become quite a chore by the end of your trip.
TEDIOUS FOR OVER 2 L – Squeeze filters, like the QuickDraw, are generally best for trips that have frequent, clear water sources along the route. Squeezing 1 or 2 L with the QuickDraw in a session is a snap, but squeezing can become tedious if you frequently need to ‘camel up’ with more than a few liters at a time for long carries or dry camping. In that case (or if you’re traveling with a group), you might want to consider something that requires less physical effort, like the Platypus GravityWorks.
NEEDS PROTECTION FROM FREEZING – If temperatures dip below freezing, you’ll need to keep the QuickDraw close to your body while hiking, and in your sleeping bag at night. If water freezes inside the filter, the pores will permanently enlarge, and the filter will be unreliable against protozoa and bacteria. At home, don’t store squeeze filters in a garage, basement, or shed that’s subject to sub-freezing temperatures.
DOESN’T KILL VIRUSES – The QuickDraw Filter does an excellent job of removing the most common bacteria and protozoans you’ll encounter while backpacking in the US, but it doesn’t kill viruses. If you’re hiking in an area where water-borne viruses are a concern, you may want to pair it with a chemical treatment, like Katadyn Micropur Tablets, or consider a purifier like the Katadyn Steripen or MSR Guardian.
CAPS TO KEEP TRACK OF – As we mentioned before, we usually keep the QuickDraw filter attached to the squeeze reservoir at all times, only taking it off to refill. If you prefer to carry the parts separately for better packability, you’ll need to carry a couple of additional caps (included) – one for the dirty side of the filter cartridge, and another for the reservoir.
It’s a small gripe, but it can be a bit of a chore to keep track of these loose caps (both on the trail and in the drying rack/gear storage box at home). It would be handy if Platypus designed the caps with some holes and tethers to keep them attached for the people who choose to use them. Until then, we recommend keeping the caps in a Ziploc when not in use. Remember, they’re contaminated, so don’t let them come into contact with clean bottles or water.
The Platypus QuickDraw MicroFilter System is an extremely straightforward and convenient way to make water from natural sources safe to drink. The build quality is among the best of any squeeze filter on the market, and we love how easy it is to backflush and check its integrity.
The jury is still out on which filter is the best between Platypus, Sawyer, and Katadyn. The truth is, they’re all great and very similar. We recommend the QuickDraw for those who are willing to pay a few bucks more for excellent durability and a high-quality reservoir. Overall, we think the QuickDraw is a great filtration option.
If you’re interested in learning more about how the Platypus QuickDraw compares to other water filters on the market, head over to our Best Water Filters Gear Guide.
We hope this review helps you determine ifthe Platypus QuickDraw MicroFilter System is right for you. As always, please leave a comment below if you have any recommendations, questions, or suggestions or visit our Facebook page and Instagram to join the community conversation. If you found this review helpful, please share on social media and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five!
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